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Visiting French minister lays wreath for victims of 2003 attack on UN’s Baghdad HQ

Visiting French minister lays wreath for victims of 2003 attack on UN’s Baghdad HQ

Visiting French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and his Iraqi counterpart Hoshiyar Zebari laid wreaths at the memorial centre of the United Nations compound in Baghdad yesterday to pay tribute to the 22 people killed in the terrorist bomb attack exactly four years earlier on the then-UN headquarters, the Canal Hotel.

The two ministers, who were received by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Deputy Special Representative for Iraq Michael von der Schulenburg and other staff members, emphasized the importance of the UN’s role in assisting the strife-torn country.

In remarks earlier commemorating the event, Mr. Schulenburg noted that while the bombing affected the way the UN conducts its operation in Iraq, the world organization remains steadfast and determined to fully shoulder its responsibilities in helping and assisting the people and Government of Iraq as they chart their way towards a future marked by peace and prosperity.

Representing the Government, George Bakus, Senior Advisor to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, offered his condolences to the families of the fallen, and voiced the appreciation of the Iraqi Government and people for the work of the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI).

He reiterated the Government’s readiness to continue its cooperation with the UN, and looked forward to an expanded UN role consistent with UNAMI’s new mandate. The Security Council last week enhanced the mission’s role in such key areas as national reconciliation, regional dialogue, humanitarian assistance and human rights.

The Diplomatic Corps accredited to Baghdad was represented at the ceremony by its dean, Ambassador Mihail Stuparu of Romania.